Omnichannel. Multichannel. Multimodal. I’m guessing you may have heard these words in the past and associated them to big companies with big contact centers. They couldn’t possibly impact your small or mid-sized business, right? Unfortunately, no. Today, every company must be able to offer omnichannel customer engagement that’s capable of communicating with people on the channel of their choice. And that means all companies, regardless of size.
Small businesses often thrive by finding their niche and making the most of it. With word-of-mouth advertising and a local phone number being enough to keep them in business. But things change. The world is becoming increasingly digital. The proliferation of smart phones, social media, email, and high-tech availability means your customers already want to interact with your brand, size notwithstanding, across many channels and devices. The numbers tell the story:
- According to the Forrester Contact Centers For Customer Service Playbook For 2017, “69% of online consumers move to another channel when online customer service fails.” Forrester estimates that “unnecessary service costs for online retailers due to channel escalation are $22 million on average.”
- According to Parature, “64% of consumers ages 18 to 34 said they view social media as an effective channel for customer service.”
- The Microsoft, 2015 Global Customer Service Report states that “66% of global customers expect a social media response within 24 hours.”
For many smaller businesses, this kind of omnichannel customer service can seem like a big hurdle. Especially when business surges and it’s a struggle just to keep up. But while the task may seem daunting, once put into use, it makes engaging customers easier across the board. Start by meeting customers where they are – and as you do, make sure you’re looking at their experience holistically (quick, easy and consistent) regardless of the channel used.
Done right, omnichannel empowers customers to readily get the information they need and the ease of doing business they expect. All saving time, expense and hassle for business owners.
Customer Engagement Reaches Across Generations
Now, whether your customers are millennials, Gen Xers, or baby boomers, they all have preferred ways to communicate. Furthermore, each group has shifting preferences that vary by age, income, and the task they want to accomplish. It may seem impossible to account for all the different wants and needs, but that’s where omnichannel can help.
By using a single communication platform that enables different communication channels as needed, whether it’s text, call, email, chat, or social media, you can enable your customers to getting the help they need in the manner they prefer. Plus, the right software can enable those channels to scale up and down on-demand to keep pace with the ebb and flow of your business.
It’s Really About Customer Experience
In a world where consumers have almost limitless options, decisions are increasingly made based on customer experience. For small and mid-sized businesses, this can be either a stumbling block or a big competitive edge, depending on how you choose to act. Now you can quickly achieve an omnichannel customer experience that reduces costs while improving customer satisfaction.
To learn more about how to implement omnichannel in your small or mid-sized business, I invite you to download our eBook, Engage with Customers in an Ultra-Connected Era.